Monday, September 29, 2008

A question of value?

Anyone going to the Allison Krauss/Robert Plant show at the Rose Garden?

The tour has been getting great reviews and they have a stellar band that's lead by T-Bone Burnett and Buddy Miller. But this is an expensive show (by my calculations) with tickets (with service charges) topping out at about $150 for the better seats.

Which brings up questions about value and how we choose to spend our entertainment dollars . . . . When presented with the choice of buying a ticket for a very expensive show, my choice has been to pass . . . even for artists I try never to miss (ie, Springsteen) . . . even for projects that are musically right in my wheelhouse (like this one). There's a point where the value of the experience and the cost of the ticket just don't work for me.

Now, that doesn't always mean I don't go to the show. What it means is finding alternate ways of getting a ticket. For instance, for the Springsteen show (some of you know this) I just showed up at the Rose Garden and waited. Ended up with two great seats close to the stage on the 100 level for a total of $40 (5 times less than what folks around me paid). Does that make me creative or just a cheap bastard unwilling to give artists their fair market value?

What's your experience? Are there shows that you'll pay any amount to be part of? What goes into your decision?

Comment below. Please.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm with you Jim. I would never (should I say never..) pay $150 for a ticket. I think the most I paid was about $70 for Dylan and the show was unbearably bad. I did pay $50 for Springsteen once and that was worth it. I think that's about my new limit for taking a chance on a big show. I often don't have as much fun at the big shows as I do at the small shows where you can get up close and personal with the musician. That experience is what makes the show for me anyway. If I'm more than 30 (?) or so rows back at a big show, I might as well be at home with my stereo.
I also like just showing up and seeing what happens. I got into Lou Reed at the Schnitz for $20, and I've gotten in a couple shows for free that way too. So, if it's meant to be....
ML

Pam said...

Yes, I'll be at the Plant/Krauss show , but in all of my life I have never paid ($95 including all of the ridiculous service fees) this much for a concert (though the seats are fantastic as we got them through Plant's website where they went on sale before they did anywhere else (even KINK's presale) . . . I know that I can see 10 local shows for the same amount of money, but I was held captive by my dear friend who convinced me that these two will NEVER (she adamantly said) tour again together ~ hope to see you there, Jim :)
p.s. the DUHKS rocked the Aladdin last night!!

Anonymous said...

I'm rarely willing to pay that kind of money when I know I can get into great shows at the Alladin, Crystal, or other venues for $15-$30.
That said, I coughed up $60 a ticket for ZZ Top at the Schnitz as my 13 year old son really wants to see them. Steep charge for ZZ Top, but at least I'm not taking him to the Backstreet Boys or Hillary Duff...

Anonymous said...

That's why I love the Blues .... it seems like you can see amazing musicians at affordable prises ....
I'd rather go out and buy a new CD (if I can't find it used) then spend big bucks for a show. Last time I was at the Rose Garden I could hardly see the stage or the artists... I refuse to go unless I am given the tickets or win them on KINK. I'm thankful we have such a wonderful selection of music and venues here in Portland.

Jim Friscia said...

Thanks . . . appreciate what you all have to say. A lot of it is about the connection to the artists that you get when it's a smaller venue.

My brother went to see Springsteen in Kansas City and paid around $100 each for his floor tickets - but got to be one of the lucky ones (through a random selection process) who ended up in the very front up against the stage. In my eyes he got his value for that ticket.
So would you pay $150 to see Krauss/Plant at the Aladdin? At Mississippi Studios (not that the entire band would have fit on the stage, but you get the idea)?

Would love to hear from more of you.

Anonymous said...

Yes, a ridiculous amount of hard-earned dough. Having said that, I paid $100 to be within the first dozen rows of Petty at Gorge Amphitheater this summer. A thrill, but not something I need to do again. Not really into "mingling" with 17K people.

I DO get out often to support live music. It's a sad state that there are so many talented local artists, along with regional and national acts that come thru places like Aladdin, Roseland, etc. that are not supported at $20 or so a ticket. The "names" may not be as "big," but many of these folks are seasoned performers and need to be supported in order to keep this art form alive. I could attend a half dozen terrific shows for the price of one high-ticket show.
It's important that we get out there and support live music - but then I guess that's why you are on Jim's list - thanks Jim!
Rose Allen

Jim Friscia said...

Good point Rose. When we get out to less expensive shows (whether local or touring), it spreads the wealth and supports some really deserving and talented artists. I've learned that making a living as a musician is a very tough road - we need to remember that buying a CD and going to a show is how most of them earn their money. If we value what they do, we need to get out and support it. What's amazing is what we get in return.

Anonymous said...

We're definitely seeing a trend of some of the larger-drawing acts charging high ticket prices (ZZ Top has a $532 ticket!!), even though it is well understood that the majority of people who are purchasing these tickets are then unable to purchase tickets to other shows. There is a group of artists who are forming a collective to address this very issue. It’s good to see that they are banding together for the greater good!

And, yes, I would be happy to pay a higher ticket price to see a show in a smaller venue! You couldn't pay me to see a show in an arena! (not that I'm biased :)

- Heather

Flaire said...

I could see spending as much as $150 on a ticket if I knew the money was benefiting a good cause, like a musicians' insurance fund or revitalizing new orleans. Other than that, I don't think any show is worth this much and I'd save my money and see a number of lesser known artists who are trying to make ends meet rather than a mega-popular already made artist.

Ken said...

Speaking of spendy shows, did you see the price for the Zappa plays Zappa show on 1/2? $100 plus charges. Venue? The Hawthorne Theater. WTF. Dweezil tried to sell it big time in the promo. You will have a 1 in 400 chance of winning a Hagstrom guitar, maybe pick some songs from the setlist, and be able to download a copy of the show. But Still....

I was spoiled a LONG time ago. I vividly remember standing outside the Fillmore East shortly after Bill Graham raised ticket prices from $3, $4 and $5 to $3.50, $4.50 and $5.50. Most FE shows were with 3 bands. People stood outside on the street screaming at Graham how he was killing the scene. Of course, Bill screamed right back at them.

I think I'm rambling so I'll shut up. Again, Jim, thanks for a very informative blog. Appreciate the service and the human element that's maintained herein. Best, Ken